For those of you know know me well, you know that two of my greatest loves are books and cinema. This year, I'm re-reading all of my favourite books that are also coming out as movies (there are tons - The Hobbit, Les Misérables, Great Gatsby...). I just finished The Life of Pi by Yaan Martel and if you haven't read it I highly recommend it!!!
As I was reading, one passage in particular stood out to me:
"There are always those who take it upon themselves to defend God, as if Ultimate Reality, as if the sustaining frame of existence, were something weak and helpless. These people walk by a widow deformed by leprosy begging for a few paise, walk by children dressed in rags living in the street, and they think, "Business as usual." But they perceive a slight against God, it is a different story. Their faces go red, their chests heave mightily, they sputter angry words. The degree of their indignation is astonishing. Their resolve is frightening.
These people fail to realize that it is on the inside that God must be defended, not on the outside. They should direct their anger at themselves. For evil in the open is but evil from within that has been let out. The main battlefield for good is not the open ground of the public arena but the small clearing of each heart."
I loved this passage because it reminds me so much of myself and many other Christians - we get so caught up in legalism and let it define our faith to the point that we don't even realize that we need to defend God from within! I used it as a springboard for a message I gave at our last Alive night a few weeks ago. I shared the quote as I spoke about different types of "dangerous Christianity" - the three kinds I focused on were legalistic Christians (hence the Life of Pi quote) and how we can end up pushing others away when we make our faith all about rules and not about compassion and grace, bench warmer Christians who think they're earning their salvation by going through the motions, and childish Christians who never explore their faith and ask why because they've grown up with it to a point of just taking it for granted. I shared the parable of the farmer sowing seed to challenge the kids to think about where they really are with God and we spent some time talking about it in small groups. I encouraged them to start building up the soil that they're planted in.
I know it's a little late to post this as a follow-up for parents, but I really wanted to share that blurb and I hope you're encouraged and challenged by it, because I know I was!!!